The term culture shock used to be bandied about a lot, but as globalisation brings increasing international convergence, the opportunities to experience a true culture shock have become less and less. However, if you’re visiting the land of the sun from the UK, you’ll find a lot of things that are completely unfamiliar. So, to help you prepare for your trip, here are some top travel tips courtesy of YouMeSushi.
The Japanese unit of currency is the yen. There are four different note dominations – 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000; and six different coins – 500, 100, 50, 10, 5, 1. Currently 100 yen is worth about 55 pence, so the smallest note, the 1,000 yen, is worth approximately £5.50.
The cost of living in Japan can be quite high, with expensive utilities and rental costs, but holidaymakers can expect to see prices similar to those here in the UK. A delivery from a mid-range sushi takeaway will cost you about 2,000 yen, or the equivalent of just over £10. A draught beer will cost you around 400 yen, whilst an imported bottle of beer will be more like 500 yen.
As a general rule, the less you rely on imported products, the cheaper your trip will be.
Visas and passports
An onward ticket will sometimes be required for entry into Japan, but generally speaking, visitors from the UK should encounter very few problems. No visas are required for a maximum six month stay (initially three months- then apply for an extension). You will require a visa for longer stays. Also, make sure your passport is valid for the duration of your stay to avoid any nasty surprises at the airport!
The Japanese love talking about the weather almost as much as we do, and given the complexity of the weather, they have plenty to talk about. On the mainland, Japanese summers are generally between 20-30oC, with a short rainy season spanning a few weeks from mid-June to mid-July.
Winters in Japan are dry and sunny, and although it can get quite cold, winter it is an excellent time to see this beautiful country. Only in northern Japan and along the Sea of Japan coastline should you expect any snow.
Japanese culture is an extremely complex, multilayered system that has been developed over thousands of years. Here are a few tips to keep you on the right side of the locals:
- Nobody tips in Japan; in fact, it can be seen as a rude gesture. The Japanese understand you’ll probably be unaware of this, so they’ll simply hand your tip back and smile.
- Alcohol can be purchased in vending machines in Japan, anything from whisky to beer, and the legal drinking age is 20.
- The Japanese are extremely polite, so manners really matter. Say thank you for everything in Japan and smile and bow when you say it. Anarigatou is fine among close friends, but add gozaimasu for everybody else.
- Japan is largely a cash-based society, so don’t go out with your plastic and expect to be able to buy food, drinks or pay for transport. Even grocery stores are often cash-only. The best advice is to change plenty of cash before you arrive.
You don’t need to travel all the way to Japan for an authentic taste of Japanese culture. Here at YouMeSushi, we deliver delicious sushi to your door from our four top London locations.